Water-Related News

Small business owners reflect on 2018 water quality crisis, see hope for future

On a breezy day in Sanibel, snowbirds flock to the beaches to relax, catch some fish and find shells. But during the summer, when Southwest Florida relies on locals and tourists to fill the beaches, water quality issues snowball into big problems for small businesses.

This time last year, the area was beginning to heal from a summer filled with red tide and blue-green algae that plagued the beaches and waterways.

“There was nothing, but the smell,” Jeff Beigh said in an interview with WINK News in November 2018, describing the summer. At the time, he was the owner of Nanny’s Children’s Shoppe in Sanibel.

Back then, WINK News set out to find how the water quality crisis of summer 2018 impacted Southwest Florida’s economy, getting survey numbers from the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity.

It showed small businesses across the area lost big. More than 400 business owners responded to the survey, reporting at least 122 million dollars in losses from red tide or blue-green algae.